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What Size Acrylic Nail Brush Is The Best?

Best size for Acrylic nail brush

Hey there, nail technicians! Let's talk about the most important tool in your arsenal—the brush. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just starting out, finding the right size brush for acrylic nails can make a world of difference in your nail game.

So, let's dive in and explore the best brush size for acrylic nails.

What Type Of Brush Should I Use For Acrylic Nails?

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Before wondering what size or shape to buy, make sure it’s made from 100% Kolinsky sable hair.

These brushes hold the perfect mix of liquid and powder and allow you a great degree of manipulation of an acrylic ball.

Is A Round Or Flat Acrylic Nail Brush Best?

As a nail technician, one of the first decisions you'll have to make is what shape of brush to use for acrylic nails.

It may seem like a small detail, but the shape of your brush can actually have a big impact on the quality of your work.

So, should you go for a round brush or a flat brush? Let's break it down.

Round Brushes


The round brush is great for nail technicians who understand the basics of acrylic applications and are just about to start their careers. This is because they hold just enough amount of liquid to get the perfect liquid-to-powder ratio.

Another great thing about round brushes with their pointed tips is that they make it easier to work around the nail edges or cuticle and do some detail work.

Flat Or Square Brushes


Now, flat or square brushes. Flat brushes have the advantage of being very easy to use in applying acrylic along the length of the nail. It is great for you if you are just getting started in nail school.

But the problem with flat brushes is that it doesn’t hold enough liquid and might leave you with very thick beads. Also, they are not the best brush option when trying to sculpt a nail.

The Oval Brush


Nail manufacturers have begun to produce a new brand of acrylic nail brushes. The oval brush.

The oval brush is a hybrid between the flat and the round. It has the same rounded belly as a round brush and the benefit of a curved/pointed edge.

However, the point where the bristles make contact with the ferrule is a bit flatter (crimped) than the round brush. This makes the tip of the brush fan out a bit in a curved shape rather than the pointed tip of a round brush but a lot more curved than the flat one.

The oval brush is perfect for a nail technician because it holds the right amount of liquid and fits perfectly into the cuticle area letting you set the acrylic just right.

In addition, you can still shape the tip of your oval brush into a point for detail work.

However, a nail brush is something very personal to each technician so you might have to try out several brushes before settling for one.

What shape of acrylic nail brush should you use? The video below describes the difference in the brushes.

What Is The Difference Between Acrylic Nail Brush Sizes?

Acrylic nail brushes come in many sizes.

And you might be confused about which size to buy. These are some of the differences between brush sizes. But remember that only you can determine which brush size best suits you.

In Number Of Beads 

A smaller size brush means you need more acrylic to cover the nail. For instance, you won’t be able to do anything less than a 3-bead method when using a size 8 brush. You might even find out that you need 4 to 5 beads.

As a beginner, the starter nail kit comes with a small size 8 or 6 brush and that is okay because you are trying to learn the basics. As you move up the professional ladder, you might want to pick a bigger size 10 or 12 brush.

You can even go as far as a 14 or 16 depending on how much control you have over the brush. With these bigger brushes, you can pick up larger-sized beads and cover the nail using 2 or even one large bead.

In ease of application

An acrylic bead is easier to apply when using a size 10 or 12 brush or any other larger brush than when using a size 6. This is because the higher amount of bristles helps the brush keep a better shape.

The belly of the brush is rounder and firmer than a small brush and you can easily lay down the bead unto the nail or tip, and guide the bead into the desired shape.

With a smaller brush, there is a tendency for the bristles to flatten easily and this can flatten the bead or get it trapped within the bristles and eventually make your job a bit more difficult.

Determining The Ratio Of Liquid To Monomer

To get the perfect beads, the liquid-to-powder ratio must be just right. Too much liquid and you have a runny bead. Too much powder, and... Oh well, you certainly don’t want that.

As a result of this, it is better to use a smaller size 6 or 8 brush when you are still learning the right ratio of products.

That’s because larger brushes soak up a lot of liquid monomer, and if you do not know how to control it, you might end up not picking enough powder and this is what you get.

Here's how to get the right liquid-to-powder ratio for beginners.

In Time Management

If you are a beginner, maybe you just got out of nail school or you are still learning how to apply acrylic nails, you do not have to bother so much about time. Using a small brush requires you to use more beads.

This alone takes up a lot of time. But if you use a bigger brush and accidentally apply too much acrylic, then it could leave you with a bump. So you probably have to file down the nail for a smoother look.

Now if you are employed in a large nail salon that pays based on the number of clients then you would want to speed things up.

This also applies to whether you offer home services or own your own business. The larger size 12, 14, or 16 brush would make the bead application a lot faster.

You also will get smoother nails that require less filing and save yourself some time.

Needless to say, larger bristles mean higher prices. You can get a decent size 8 or 10 Kolinsky brush for less than $20.

Pro tip: "If you want to work your way up the brush size ladder, maybe go for a size 18 or 20 and you are not sure if it would be suitable for you. You can get a cheaper synthetic brush to practice with before investing in a Kolinsky sable brush."

In Price

Needless to say, larger bristles means higher prices. You can get a decent size 8 or 10 kolinsky brush for less than $20.

Pro tip: if you want to work your way up the brush size ladder, maybe go for a size 18 or 20 and you are not sure if it would be suitable for you. You can get a cheaper synthetic brush to practice with before investing in a kolinsky sable brush.

Best Shape And Size For Acrylic Nail Brushes

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It really depends on what stage you're at in your profession.

  • If you are just getting started with acrylic nails, I would suggest a flat size 8 brush after which you should switch over to an oval size 8.
  • If you are an expert that is hard-pressed for time, I think a size 14 or above will be perfect for you.

Can I Use A Large Brush to Pick up Smaller Beads?

You might think that it is impossible to pick small beads using a size 14 or 16 brush.

If you are using a round brush with a pointed tip, you should dip the tip in monomer, wipe off the excess soaked liquid at the edge of the container and dip the brush tip briefly in the acrylic powder.

That will give you a fluffy and perfect tiny bead that you can use to fill around the edges.

Can You Use A Small Brush To Pick Up Larger Beads?

It is possible to use small brushes to pick up larger beads.

You have to fully dip the brush into the monomer and allow the droplets to fall off without tapping more than once on the side of the dappen dish so that the brush will hold a lot of liquid before being dipped into the powder.

This video will show you how to gain control over your bead size.

Most Popular Size Acrylic Nail Brush

The most popular sizes for beginners are usually the smaller sizes and the bigger ones for the more advanced technicians like sizes 12 and up.

Acrylic Nail Brush Size Chart

There are a lot of things to consider when choosing the best size of acrylic nail brush for yourself. You must ensure that you are using the right brush to learn as a beginner.

When you are more of an expert, you can have a wider range of brush sizes to choose from.

Choosing the Right Acrylic Brush Size

If you're a nail technician, you know that choosing the right acrylic brush is crucial for creating flawless nail enhancements. But did you know that there are several considerations that actually influence your brush choice?

Nail Bed Size

The size of the nail bed can have a big impact on your choice of acrylic brush size. If you have narrow nail beds, using a smaller brush, like a size 6, may be more suitable for you.

This allows for greater precision and control when applying the acrylic, resulting in clean and precise nail enhancements.

On the other hand, if you have wider nail beds, a larger brush, such as a size 10 or 12, may be a better fit for you. This gives you more coverage and allows for quicker application.

Technique and Comfort

When it comes to acrylic application, everyone has their own unique technique. What works for one person may not work for another.

That's why it's important to experiment with different brush sizes to find the one that feels most comfortable and enhances your technique.

Some technicians may find that a smaller brush, like a size 8, allows for greater control and precision, while others may prefer the larger surface area of a size 12 brush.

It's all about finding what works best for you and your individual style.

Design Complexity

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The complexity of the design you're creating can also influence your choice of acrylic brush size.

If you're working on intricate or detailed designs, a smaller brush, like a size 6 or 8, may be more suitable. This allows for precise application and the ability to create intricate patterns and designs.

On the other hand, if you're filling in larger areas or creating broader strokes, a larger brush, such as a size 12 or 14, maybe a better choice.

It's all about matching the brush size to the complexity of the design you're working on.

Skill Level

As you gain more experience and confidence in your acrylic application technique, you may find yourself wanting to experiment with different brush sizes.

Starting with a smaller brush size can be a great way to develop your skills and master the basics. But as you become more proficient, don't be afraid to try out larger brush sizes.

You may find that you're able to work more quickly and efficiently with a larger brush, while still maintaining the same level of precision and control.

How Does the Size of Acrylic Brushes Affect Acrylic Application

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Now, let's talk about the size of acrylic brushes and how it affects acrylic application.

The size of the brush you use can greatly impact the precision and control you have over the product. Here's a breakdown of the most common brush sizes and their uses:

  • Size 8: This is a versatile brush size that's great for general acrylic application. It allows for good control and is suitable for most nail shapes and designs.
  • Size 10: A slightly larger brush that provides more coverage and is ideal for faster application. It's great for full sets and fills.
  • Size 12: This is a larger brush that allows for quick application and is perfect for longer nails or nail extensions. It provides good coverage and saves time.

Remember, the size of the brush you choose ultimately depends on your personal preference and the type of application you're doing.

Experiment with different sizes to find what works best for you.

Expert Tips for Working With Acrylic Brushes

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  • Choose Quality Brushes

    First things first, invest in high-quality acrylic brushes. Trust me, this is not an area where you want to skimp. Cheap brushes can lead to bristle shedding and poor application. Look for brushes made with synthetic bristles that are firm yet flexible.

  • Prep and Prime the Brushes

    Before you start working with your brushes, it's important to prep and prime your acrylic nail brush. This helps to remove any manufacturing residue and condition the bristles for optimal performance.

    Dip your brush in monomer and wipe it off with a lint-free wipe. Repeat this process a few times until the brush is clean and ready to go.

  • Master the Liquid-to-Powder Ratio

    One of the keys to successful acrylic application is mastering the liquid-to-powder ratio. Too much liquid can result in a runny mess, while too little can lead to clumpy, uneven application.

    Aim for a ratio of 2 parts liquid to 1 part powder. If the mixture is too wet, add a bit more powder. If it's too dry, add a drop or two of liquid.
  • Control Product Consistency

    Consistency is key when it comes to acrylic application. You want the product to be smooth and easy to work with. If the mixture is too thick, it will be difficult to spread evenly.

    On the other hand, if it's too thin, it will be hard to control and may run into the cuticles. Practice finding the perfect consistency by adjusting the liquid-to-powder ratio as needed.
  • Master Brush Control

    Brush control is another crucial skill to master when working with acrylic. The way you hold and maneuver your brush can greatly impact the outcome of your application.

    Hold the brush like a pencil, using your thumb and middle finger for stability. Use light, gentle strokes to apply the product, and practice different techniques to create various nail shapes and designs.
  • Clean Brushes Between Colors

    When working with multiple colors, it's important to clean your brushes between each use. Acrylic dries quickly, and leftover residue can contaminate your next color.

    Simply dip your brush in monomer and wipe it off on a lint-free wipe until it's clean. This ensures that your colors stay true and your application remains flawless.

    You can read more on how to clean acrylic brushes in our article here.

How to Look After Your Brush

Now that you're armed with all these tips, let's talk about how to look after your acrylic brush. With proper care, your brush can last for a long time and continue to perform at its best. Here are some additional tips for brush maintenance:

  • Treat your brushes with care. Avoid applying excessive pressure or bending the bristles. This can lead to damage and affect the brush's performance.
  • Over time, acrylic can build up on the bristles, affecting their flexibility and performance. To avoid this, periodically soak your brushes in monomer overnight to dissolve any buildup.

    Gently wipe off the dissolved residue the next day, and your brushes will be good as new.
  • Never leave your brush in monomer for extended periods. This can damage the bristles and affect their performance.
  • Avoid using your brush for other purposes, such as picking up rhinestones or mixing colors. This can lead to bristle damage and product contamination.
  • If you notice any stray or frayed bristles, trim them with a pair of small scissors. This will help maintain the brush's shape and performance.
  • Regularly reshape the bristles of your brushes to maintain their shape and precision.

    After cleaning, gently reshape the bristles with your fingers or a brush shaper tool. This ensures that the brush maintains its optimal performance.

    Check out these articles on how to trim your acrylic brush and how to crimp round brushes for more details.
  • Don't forget to periodically replace your brush when it starts to show signs of wear and tear. A worn-out brush can affect your application and make it more difficult to achieve the desired results.

Final Thoughts

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Choosing the right acrylic brush size is essential if you want picture-perfect acrylic nails. Whether you prefer a smaller brush for intricate designs or a larger brush for efficiency, there's a size out there that's perfect for you.

So go ahead, experiment, and find your perfect fit. Happy brushing!

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